A surprise in every sense. So different to what I anticipated. My ideas about South Africa always were the table mountain, vineyards and European tourists driving along the garden route to eventually end up on an expensive safari in Kruger National Park. Travelling is always a good way to overcome preoccupied ideas, right?
So after a rough start I explored Cape Town and the surrounding cape area. Cape Town is beautifully set in between the ocean and a mountain range. Yes, of course I hiked/scrambled up famous table mountain to enjoy the view. But beneath all the beauty of the location I was startled about high walls with electric fences, barbed wire fences, many homeless people and a lot of security staff around family houses. Yes, South Africa struggles. It’s said to be the most dangerous country on the African continent and the locals I spoke to have all been robbed at least once, had break ins in their homes at least ones too and they were surprised about me being startled about the very obvious problems. For them it’s their daily life. The differences between the different groups of society are still big. Some would say that Apartheid ended 24 years ago, but I’d say only 24 years ago. It’s not a long time to talk, forgive and grow together. Forgive! The more I learn about South Africa the more I admire Nelson Mandela. It’s unbelievable how an individual person was able to lead the way out of the terrible and inhumane Apartheid into a peaceful future. Of course there have been thoughts of revenge as there had been a lot of pain … but South Africa did well on its peaceful walk to freedom.
Anyway, I was very excited when I finally got to see some of my favourite animals!
I saw penguins the first time in my life on Boulder beach that is located halfway in between Cape Town and the cape of good hope. It’s been awesome seeing these little guys waddling out of the shores of the Atlantic.
A dream came true.
15/07/2018 - SOUTH AFRICA
While I am typing these lines I am on a train to Capetown. I just left Johannesburg, South Africa’s biggest city and I still don’t know what to think about that place. I heard so many different things about JoBurg: the most dangerous city on the African continent, … but with an interesting history as Mandela and even Mahatma Ghandi worked here as lawyers. Also, just very recently the well known Forbes magazine put JoBurgs uprising neighbourhood Maboneng on its list of the 10 coolest and most worth to be visited neighbourhoods worldwide. So best requirements for an interesting stay in this city. Maboneng indeed is a very good example for modern urban but carefully controlled development: galleries next to pop-up bars and cafe’s, food markets next to apartment houses, sculpture parks in the backyard of formerly highjacked buildings. The owners, the community and investors take care that no big brand chains take over the place and that things grow slowly, safely and that it doesn’t turn into one of these anonymous gentrification areas that seem to arise. The neighbourhood boasts some quite interesting murals too. Hard to believe that not that many years prior Maboneng has been a very dangerous quarter. But I got a taste of that. Once you leave the lively and clean streets of Maboneng things roughen up. Locals warn you to walk along certain streets, you shouldn’t go outside at dawn and night, better take an Uber wherever you go. One early evening I took an Uber to the supermarket and I felt that uneasy that I asked the driver to wait for me right at the entrance of the store.
I wonder whether this uneasiness derives from these constant warnings or if it really is the atmosphere of the place.
Anyway, the differences between rich and poor are huge and gangs are operating in town.
However, I wandered (better to say: ‚ubered‘) around town and diped deeper into history and went to see the great Apartheid museum. I can’t repeat offen enough how inhumane and cruel Apartheid was and how much Nelson Mandela should be (and truly worldwide is) admired for his effort of leading the country into freedom and democracy. What an incredible and inspiring human being he’s been.